Grain growth mechanisms in ultrafine-grained steel: an electron backscatter diffraction and in situ TEM study

  • Laura Ahmels
  • Ankush Kashiwar
  • Torsten Scherer
  • Christian Kübel
  • Enrico BruderEmail author


In this work, the thermal stability of the strongly elongated and textured ultrafine-grained microstructure of a high-strength low-alloy steel processed by linear flow splitting is investigated. The annealing behavior is studied for α- and γ-fiber orientations, which are dominant in the rolling type texture of the material and are known for their differences in stored energy in conventionally cold rolled steels. Electron backscatter diffraction is used to assess contributions from curvature-driven boundary migration while the contribution of strain-induced migration is investigated by comparing the annealing behavior of prerecovered to non-prerecovered samples. The exact nature of the coarsening process is studied using in situ TEM heat treatments and complementary ACOM analysis. The results show that the observed preferred growth of α-fiber grains can be fully described by curvature-driven grain boundary migration and that there is no indication for the relevance of gradients in dislocation density.



This work was carried out with the support of the Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF,, a Helmholtz Research Infrastructure at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The authors gratefully acknowledge the German Research Foundation (DFG) for funding parts of this work carried out within the framework of the Collaborative Research Center 666. The funding was provided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grant No. SFB666).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division Physical Metallurgy, Materials Science DepartmentTU DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Institute of NanotechnologyKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyEggensteinGermany
  3. 3.Karlsruhe Nano Micro FacilityKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyEggensteinGermany

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